The Stroke Rehab Journey

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The best and quickest way to recover after a stroke is to begin stroke rehab. In stroke rehab, a group of health providers may work with you to help you regain skills you lost after your stroke. This may be done in the hospital environment initially or once you leave the hospital you may choose to visit professionals or continue your rehab at home.

Stroke rehab will focus on helping to restore as much of your independence as possible. It will also assist in adjusting to the post stroke changes of your brain and body. And on a more functional aspect it can help you in your home environment to cope with the changes in your ability and everyday routine after your stroke.

A key component of stroke rehab to help retrain the brain includes frequency or repetition of exercises or therapy. Research has shown that the brain can make new connections and this is a fundamental principal of stroke recovery. We call this ability of the brain to change and adapt ‘neuroplasticity’. Repeated repetition is needed for the brain to change and this is utilized in most stroke rehab programs. Just like learning any new skill, the use of repetition is used to help entrain it into your body.

It is also important that stroke rehab consists of some form of cardiovascular exercise. Post stroke it is important for survivors to maintain cardiovascular health to help prevent future strokes. This can prove difficult if there are post stroke problems with walking or gait as most traditional cardiovascular exercises involve the ability to stand or use the legs. Swimming or any type of aquatic activity like aqua aerobics that are adjusted to your abilities may be a useful cardiovascular tool.

The stroke rehab team has some vital members such as your family, loved ones and caregivers. You may be fortunate to have a team of professionals working together with you and your caregivers to help you with your recovery. The professional team may consist of physical therapists to help with co-ordination, balance and movement. Occupational therapist to help with adjustments to daily tasks such as eating, dressing and bathing. For some individuals a speech-language therapist may be needed to help relearn language. An often overlooked aspect is any post stroke emotional issues. This is an important component of stroke rehab and should be addressed by a counselor or psychologist.

There are many different ways and approaches to stroke rehab. Unfortunately due finances or location, not everyone is in a position to learn or have access to the best stroke recovery methods. Recently there have been some great discoveries in the areas of stroke recovery and rehabilitation. And while there is no short cut for hard work and time, there are definitely more efficient ways to go about stroke rehab. An approach that uses the latest techniques in stroke rehab and allows you to tailor them to your needs will result in a faster and more efficient recovery period. It could also push your recovery further than you thought possible.

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